Quinoa Question

CassandraAugust 10, 2012

I cooked this for the first time yesterday--made Red Beans and Quinoa vs. Red Beans and Rice. I liked the taste but am not sure about the texture. It wasn't rice-like (as it has sometimes been called) but more like a gruel. Maybe it didn't absorb all the water needed? I'm not sure--it simmered, covered, for nearly 25 minutes (although the instructions said 10-15 minutes). Also, the instructions say that you should rinse it before cooking. I did that, but then didn't know exactly how to drain it as it is so tiny. Is there a sieve with tiny, tiny holes out there that I need to purchase?

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1. You need to rinse quinoa because it is coated with saponine, which is a bitter, naturally-occurring substance, that acts as a pesticide. Most quinoa sold today has been processed to remove the saponin, but it still needs to be thoroughly washed before cooking.

HOW TO TIP: Put the quinoa in a deep bowl and cover with cold water. Gently rub it between your palms for a few seconds to wash off the saponin. Drain the quinoa through a fine-mesh strainer. Repeat. If you are using domestic quinoa (or grew it yourself), wash a third time. After it's been thoroughly washed I like to place the strainer containing the clean quinoa under cold running water and rinse it in small batches (only because my strainer has about a 2-cup capacity). Tap the strainer several times to get rid of excess water.

2. Domestic quinoa is smaller than imported (usually from South America). So if size matters..... I personally like the domestic quinoa because it has a bit more flavor, but either will work. If you want to mill it into flour choose imported quinoa, because it has most of the saponin removed. If you are unsure or know you have domestic quinoa, it needs to be thoroughly washed AND dried (put the clean quinoa in a thin layer in a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels and set it in the oven with the light on) and thoroughly dry before milling into flour. You can easily mill it in small batches a coffee/spice mill since it's a relatively soft grain. Mill 2/3 c. quinoa to make 1 cup of flour.

3. It should cook up more fluffy than what you describe. Ratio of liquid to grain: 2 c. liquid to 1-1/3 c. domestic quinoa; 2 c. liquid to 1 c. imported quinoa. Cook it until all the water has been absorbed. The grain should be translucent and it's thin germ, which looks like a curlicue, will be white. After you remove the pan form the heat let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.

(source: Splendid Grain)

2 c. fresh orange juice (I also like to use apricot juice)
1 t. ghee or unrefined sesame oil
1 t. honey (more if you like it sweeter)
1/8 t. sea salt
1 c. imported quinoa or 1-1/3 c. domestic quinoa, well washed
2 T. pecans, toasted and chopped very fine.

Combine the orange juice, ghee, honey, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Watch closely to keep the orange juice from boiling over. Add the quinoa, cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until all of the juice has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5-minutes. Add the pecans and fluff with a fork. Makes 3-3/4 cups.

[Grainlady note: I generally make 1/2 a recipe (for 2 adults) and still have some leftover. I don't add the pecans to the mixture because they get rubbery in the leftovers. I top each serving with chopped pecans when served, and I use a LOT more pecans than the 2 T. called for in the recipe.]

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 11:24AM
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I've made quinoa a number of times and I don't find it like gruel. It's a fine grain. Unlike rice, it won't clump together. I don't think I rinse mine which is Bob's Red Mill organic. This is pre-washed to remove any bitterness. Cooking instructions are in the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: cooking quinoa

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 11:27AM
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We love quinoa. It overcooks very fast, easily turns to mush.

We like it so that has a teeny bit of crunch and firmness to it. 14 minutes of cooking time is perfect.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 11:27AM
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I used 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa, but I'll increase it next time to more quinoa and maybe get more absorption/"fluff." Thanks for the helpful comments.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 1:41PM
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